by: Marceline Donaldson
It has been a busy day! The writing from a Bettina Network Lifestyle Community Member on Elizabeth Warren has caused a bit of a blowup. So you know I have to chime in. Who would guess that among hard working people; thoughtful people; intellectual people there would be this bit of racism.
Is it racist to dump on Elizabeth Warren for talking about her Native American ancestors and as some are doing, claim that is reason for the Democratic Party to rethink her candidacy for president? “Drop her” is what I have heard from some and looking for justification to back their negativity towards Senator Warren is what I have heard from others.
What is the racial mythology fueling this? The claim that Blacks, African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans and all those other minorities out there really want to be White. What negates this is a White American acknowledging her Native American ancestors and at a very young age. -That is clear in the past reporting on Michael Jackson. It came out periodically. The claim that Michael Jackson wanted to be ‘white’. He used ‘white’ make-up on his face to cover his blackness, etc. etc. The reality of his life was never acknowledged.
The fact that Michael Jackson had a disease that turns your skin from dark to stark white was never injected into those conversations. Neither was the fact that makeup on the white portions of your face where the pigment has gone away does not take very well so your choice is limited and it must be the white makeup. That was constantly reported, but the facts were skewered to accommodate the mythology of White Supremacy. No matter how great Michael Jackson was – and he was pretty outstanding in his day – what he really wanted was to be white. That is the other side to the rejection of and demand for an apology from Elizabeth Warren for acknowledging her Native American ancestors.
How do I know about this disease? My grandfather had the same disease. His hands were spotted as the darker pigment was moving away and his hands and face and neck were turning white as the disease progressed. Some people live to see themselves turn completely white, some die before that happens. I don’t think it is the disease which causes their death, it doesn’t seem to have any other affect on the body.
That is only one reporting which brought out and emphasized how blacks wanted to be white. There have been more. What does that do? It shores up White Supremacy. Those who are not white want to be. The opposite – those who are seen and accepted as white hide any minorities they may have in their background. “Passing” has always been looked down on, but once you have “passed for white”, married and have children that look white you are sort of safe, just stay put and don’t bring up those minority ancestors.
What Elizabeth Warren has done is turn all of that on its head. She had a life as white – until she started talking about her Native American ancestry. What is that? It is a violation of the contract whites have with each other. If every ‘white’ persons’ minority ancestry was outed we would have chaos in this country there are so many. Slavery wasn’t mostly on plantations, most of slavery happened in one house with one white family living “cheek by jowl” with one black slave family. The result of this produced many white plus children. White Supremacy would be in total confusion and destroyed if history were more accurate. The hold that the need to be better than has on all of us becomes clearer by the decade. The hypocrisy of racism and its ridiculousness is lost on most of us.
One great example of the ridiculousness comes from the life of Senator Strom Thurmond. A son of the south and one who viciously articulated hatred of blacks who should always know and stay in their place. His political career was founded on his racism. Senator Thurmond had a black daughter who he knew, educated, with whom he had a relationship, but everyone conspiratorially around him kept his secret. Thurmond was in the forefront of those Democrats who left the Democratic Party because they saw the possibility of taking control of and changing the Republican Party into a replica of the KKK and other such groups. And as we have seen from this current man who calls himself President of these United States, he was successful.
Our hypocrisy on race is the stuff of legend. So how does White Supremacy and racism remain? It stays put because of the inferiority and arrogance of whites – conservative and liberal – who need to have that feeling of being better than to feel normal.
How does that relate to Senator Warren, her Native American heritage and the societal reaction?
If we are going to maintain White Supremacy we must abide by the rules. A cardinal rule is that one follows the mythology – in this case that blacks and other minorities want to be white. To break that happens when a white person – one who is totally accepted as white – comes out talking about her Native American ancestors – that is the stuff which gets one stoned.
Senator Warren – you are white. Defined as being better than and as a young person just getting started in your career you came out putting “Indian American” on forms that need to be filled out with race on the form. Just look at what you are doing to this society. You have upended and disregarded and violated one of the basic rules that maintains White Supremacy. The mythology which is one of the pillars holding up White Supremacy is that Blacks and other minorities want to be white and here you are coming out to say I am White but I acknowledge and respect my Native American ancestors. Look around Senator Warren, even the Native American leaders can’t handle that. Why not? If basic change happens. If everyone starts coming out and acknowledging and respecting all parts of their heritage just look at what that will mean. Those leaders of minority groups, among others, will be out of work.
Hey, you put out your heritage let me put out mine, which includes Native Americans. But wait – that doesn’t do anything. For one minority to lay claim to their ancestors in another minority group – no sweat. That changes nothing and is barely noticed. Many of my African American friends acknowledge their Native American ancestors and no one notices. The problem comes when you – white female – comes out to dare to acknowledge and respect your Native American heritage, and lordy, to even talk about it in the highest places.
And to all of those claiming you do not belong to any Native American tribe and therefore can’t be Native American, that is mind blowing. Why? Because that is the way Native Americans are annihilated – eliminated – become obsolete . That is something we have been trying to do almost since the Pilgrims landed.
If you are mixed and live as white and the generations pass, your Native American heritage is lost and it is also lost to all of those Native American Tribes. Gradually Native Americans will become extinct as we become a more mixed society. Just think of what that means if only those who are members of a Native American Tribe can call themselves Native Americans. That is a form of genocide.
My great grandfather was Black Feet Indian. He worked for and received a Doctorate of Divinity from Philips University. He was an ordained Episcopal Priest who wound up in New Orleans where he was rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church; head of a school; and did a lot more. His story counts – his life was important – his ancestors deserve a place in history as who they were. He lived in an African American community and was considered African American. He was not a member of a Native American Tribe. If he and his life and his true identity are lost to history and he becomes submerged in other groups histories, Native Americans suffer as their history is degraded. That does not happen to the Irish, the French, the English or to any other group considered white. They accomplish and their progeny do not deny their ancestors because they were not citizens of Ireland or France or etc. It is tragic that we do not live in a time or in a country where your Native American heritage is not denied but celebrated.
We are watching, under Donald Trump, history repeating itself in another century with some changes, but basically the same annihilation of a group of people considered ‘minority’. The brown peoples attempting to come into the United States. Their children are being taken away from them at the gate. Native American children were taken from their parents and who knows what happened to most of them. A generation lost. That part of Native American history can only be reclaimed by those families which integrated and included Native Americans who were ripped from their families and thrown to the wind. That history will be an expansion of Native American history. For a more accurate history we need the stories from those mixed people who talk about their Native American ancestry and who tell the stories from their youth which have been passed down through the family. The Native American stories passed down through minority communities sort of remain. The Native American stories are totally discouraged from being passed down through white communities.
Your history and the history of your Native American ancestors is also a part of Native American history and should be talked about, included and accepted, especially by those Native American Tribes who are what -growing or shrinking?
Our society used to believe – if you had just 1% of minority “blood” you were a minority. That means, if you were mixed with any of the groups of the world that we call “races” and those ‘races’ were white you were considered “white” unless in the mix even as little as 1% was one of the minority ‘races”. Then you were considered a minority and then you, your history, your legacy, your life were thrown on the dump heap.
Some of us have begun to see otherwise. As blacks, latina’s, native americans, philippine’s and more begin to achieve greatness the conversation has turned. The conversation around the “black” golfer , who was number one and couldn’t be unseated, that public conversation went – he is not really black, he has these other ancestors and should not be called black. Isn’t his mother something else? How can he neglect and push aside her contribution to who he is. And she was not white, but enough to help turn the conversation. That gave us enough of a view to the future that we realized racism will continue, but it will be in us in other ways – which are beginning to be newly defined.
Minorities can be raised up into this group which espouses White Supremacy either overtly or covertly if their achievements are so great they question the negative stereotype by which we are raised. But, “whites” must give up, hide and not claim their minority ancestors. That is necessary because if it went in the other direction we would lose this great bonus of White Supremacy and many would have to live out their lives being equal to. What a death sentence to their ego.
So, Senator Warren, do you have the guts to continue respecting, honoring and raising up your Native American ancestors or are you going to be one who apologizes because you slipped and acknowledged the family history with which you were raised. Those Native American Tribesmen get it – or they should. They clearly understand that there are those outside registered tribe members who have Native American ancestors and can freely talk about them. Or do you need to be in lock step with the White Supremacist who are trying desperately to keep their ‘better than’ position by any means necessary?
And all of you Native American Tribes – you demonstrate for other things are you going along with what is happening to Elizabeth Warren? Are you going to stand up for those who acknowledge their Native American ancestors and heritage even if they are not a member of a particular tribe. Is that such a threat to you that you will jump on that White Supremacist band wagon and go along with the program? If you do, it will be to your extreme loss and to the loss of your progeny and to those who went before.
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